Monday, November 16, 2009


In my last response to Elizabeth Costello, I discussed the human bias towards reason as a superior mode of perception. It is this bias that makes us discount animals’ ability to perceive a spectrum of reality that is similar in scope to ours – emotions, pain, compassion, the prospect of death. We assume that because we cannot recognize a comparable faculty of reason within animals, that it must not exist, and they are therefore inferior. But it is not their lacking which is the problem – it is our inability to perceive an ulterior form of perception, to give credit to a phenomenon we cannot observe, that has created this misunderstanding between humans and animals. And yet people still strive to understand this different perception, this different state of being, which animals hold so furtively. In Elizabeth’s lecture, it is the poet who seeks to come closest to uncovering these secrets.

So what is the difference? What is the intangible essence of being that animals posses which we do not, and cannot define? If they don’t see the world through our lens of reason, what lens do they see it through? Instinct? Survival? Or something else entirely? Costello uses the example of poets Rilke and Hughes, their attempts to posses, or be possessed by, the being of animals; to capture the feeling, the being, the perception of a beast. Both poets recognize a will of animals, a will that powers their being, which asserts itself in their movements and in their very presence. We cannot describe what powers this will of animals, but, as in Rilke’s poem, we can determine what breaks it. In the cage, the panther exists, and continues to move, yet, “inside, a gigantic Will stands stunned and numbed (Rilke, anthology, 372).” Costello describes it as this, “a concentric lope that leaves the will stupefied, narcotized (Coetzee, 95).” So perhaps an animal’s will comes from its freedom of movement – its existence in space, in nature, from where it draws all its stimuli and channels all of its responses. Because if an animal’s perception is not contained within the frame of its own mind, within a network of reasoning and deduction, it must be free to exist outside of the mind, to move with what is being perceived – as Costello says, “his consciousness is kinetic rather than abstract (Coetzee, 95).” Does this mean animals have a greater ability to project into their environments? To have a confidence, and assertiveness, of movement and of being that is limited by the human need for rational order, for cognition over impulse? We cannot know, because of that very limitation. To get close to how animals feel and think, we must let go of the backbone of our consciousness – reason – and feel blindly, as Costello describes, “Hughes is feeling his way towards a different kind of being-in-the-world (Coetzee, 95).”

An affront to the will of animals, confinement.

What drives poets to want to capture the mystery of animals? Is it the same thing that draws people to zoos? That creates an audience for programming devoted solely to documenting animals in their natural state? We recognize the mystery in the lives of animals, just as we recognize the mystery of the cosmos, and so we seek to explore it further, we are engaged, fascinated by that mystery. One would think that the idea of animals containing some force that we don’t know about would be a concession to their equality with humans, and yet we continue to treat them as inferiors. This is the contradiction that comes with our fascination – we see the beauty, the mystery, the magnetism of animals; and yet we destroy them, thoughtlessly.

This destruction has not always been a contradiction. Costello makes the case for primitivism, as addressed by poets such as Hughes. Primitivism is a celebration of the animal, “a contest, a ritual, and honour (Coetzee, 97).” When we must face the creature we are about to destroy, match it in physical strength and dexterity and reaction (a cognitive prowess), we are conceding to it an equivalence, making it something that must be earned, that is not ours by right, not innately inferior. We destroy animals not because we have contempt for their existence, but because we recognize the power and the sustenance they give us. If this were how we got all of our meat, by matching ourselves against animals in their natural state, by earning their destruction, I would not mind eating it. But if that was how we got all of our meat, we would never have had the time to develop human civilization – of which the relative importance is a whole other discussion. And so we abandoned primitivism out of what most consider necessity, and here is where the contradictions emerge.

The Eagle, an animal we admire and revere.

Humans still hold a primitive fascination with animals – a desire to run with the wolf, fly with the eagle, swing through the jungle with the monkey. Yet, as Costello’s son reflects, “You won’t get a bunch of Australians standing around a sheep, listening to its silly baa, writing poems about it (Coetzee, 100).” We are biased in the animals we choose to revere, and it is no coincidence that the ones we don’t choose show up on our dinner tables. The ones we continue to admire are the ones who remain free – who retain that mysterious will, the power of being that we struggle to define. We recognize that an animal’s freedom is what makes it beautiful, and yet we take it away. We take away what makes animals powerful, unique, and proceed to slaughter them. We do not feel for them because we do not see the power, the being, that we are destroying, because we have already stifled it. And yet despite our stifling, who is to say that it is gone? This could be an argument for either side. On one hand, if we have deprived animals of what defines their perception, their will – their free movement in nature – than they no longer have that will to live, and their deaths are of no moral consequence. But on the other side, a creature’s will to live is immutable, and though we may have reduced animals to their base function, depriving them of an opportunity to flourish, the will exists, trapped, tortured, rebelling until death. Hughes suggests as much in “The Jaguar”-
“By the bang of blood in the brain deaf the ear-
He spins from the bars, but there’s no cage to him
More than to the visionary his cell:
His stride is wildernesses of freedom” (Anthology, 375)

We cannot assume that an animal is simpler than a human, that its will is easier to break. And we cannot deny that there exists a will – we concede to its existence in our art, poetry, and educational programming. So we must live with a contradiction, or seek to resolve it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I had many acute responses – skeptical and celebratory – to Elizabeth Costello, her character and her lectures. I was a little discouraged, however, to see these responses similarly outlined in the commentary in our course anthology. My little gems of enlightened post-its seem perfunctory now, moot points.

The main ideas I found to share with the commentators were the arguments on the relative importance of beings by Singer and the focus on eastern religion by Doniger. Both posed the questions, found the flaws, of Costello’s argument that I did.

Do the inherent differences between man and animal create a disparity in their worth? Or do they negate that perceived disparity as a symptom of narrow-mindedness? Singer argues the former, Costello the latter, and neither convinces me entirely. So I think I’m left with a question which, at least for now, I wont seek to answer.

Is there a scale to measure the
relative worth of beings?

On the other hand, Doniger discusses all of the points that immediately came to mind as O’ Hearne claimed that compassion for animals was a modern, western concept. Granted, O ‘Hearne does specify the “obligation to animals themselves (Coetzee, 106)” rather than the hope for human well-being or salvation that is often the case of animal veneration in eastern religions. Yet his, and ultimately Coetzee’s, complete omission of eastern tradition in the issue of animal treatment seems like a gross oversight. Be it calculated or careless, I think it weakens both arguments considerably.

Costello could’ve used the examples of eastern tradition, as Doniger discusses at length, to present two arguments. The first, that humans have associated the cruelty to and killing of animals with evil, or moral depravity, for hundreds of years. Even if in their own interests, the idea that killing or harming an animal is an affront to god, an affront to one’s own soul, definitely gives animals more worth than is ascribed to them in western religion, even when viewed through a “compassionate” western lens. In western tradition, animals are lesser, more innocent creatures, and we should protect them because of their weakness and because of our strength. In the east however, animals posses souls of equal value to those of humans, and are regarded as equals by the gods, and so must be preserved for the preservation of man’s own being - man must share his right to exist. On top of this, Doniger points out that eastern tradition calls for a heightened moral consciousness in man, “the… argument that we know that they are going to die, and that that makes it bad for us to kill them. (Anthology, 351)” Costello does not use this eastern perspective in her argument. She does however, criticize one thing that eastern and western tradition have in common, though it manifests differently in both, and that is the use of god as justification – scapegoat – for the killing of animals. Doniger discusses examples of this at length, and so I won’t repeat them.
The veneration of the cow in
Hindu tradition.

Although Coetzee omits specific religious ideas in Costello’s argument, there is much discussion of God. Yet it is the abstract God of western tradition that Costello depicts, not the anthropomorphic Gods of the east. It is the God referred to in irony, in an attempt to undermine the very notion of God, and thus to undermine the doctrines of a God that says we are different than animals, that we were created in a different image, with a different worth. Costello calls it “the God of reason (Coetzee, 67)” and suggests it is a false god – not “the being of the universe (67)” against which man and animal are measured and separated. It is a construct, a faculty given too much value, a device twisted to become exclusionary. Man can reason, animal cannot, and reason is thus superior to all other faculties – even those which animals posses and we lack. Through our reason we may be able to unlock certain “secrets of the universe,” but we can only describe them insofar as reason allows, and having become so enamored with reason as to disregard other forms of perception, we limit ourselves, and at the same time feel we posses such higher cognition than the animals who remain unfettered, subject only to the reality of nature, not the constructs of man. The idea that reason is the penultimate method of understanding is a flaw in how we view our own cognition and especially in how we seek to distinguish ourselves from animals. Reason is the God which, as Costello would argue, we use to justify the killing of animals. Reason is the scapegoat, the excuse, for our cruelty, and reason is why we must have a scapegoat to begin with. Reason is how we try to answer the question I posed at the beginning – do our inherent differences give us different worth? The God of Reason says that yes, our cognitive faculties make us superior to those with a different sort of cognition. It says that it is no matter if animals feel, if they love, if they empathize - only if they reason, in our terms and in ways we understand, could they be our equals. This is the fallacy of man - a comfortable fallacy that not only leads us towards depravity, towards cruelty, but that goes so far as to limit what is good in us - our vast cognition, our capacity for several modes of perception.

Monday, November 2, 2009


What is the difference between the “specific talent(s)”(Dick, 124) of empathy, sympathy, and compassion? When I read the anthology definitions and the abstractions website, and then applied them to what I was reading in Androids, I was faced with numerous contradictions. It seems that one thing they all have in common is that they are unquantifiable – and rightly so. Because if we could truly quantify these aspects which, as argued in our last discussion, make us uniquely human, we could then apply that knowledge to non-human things – in Dick’s case, androids.

We are warned against the dangers of abstractions, but what about the danger of trying to define, to quantify, the things that truly are abstract? I base my view of abstraction on the Oxford English Dictionary definition “the idea of something which has no independent existence.”(Abstractions website) Basically, something which is subjective, that cannot exist without reference to other phenomena – be they tangible or imagined. In this way, our concepts of empathy, sympathy, and compassion truly are abstractions. The only differences to be found between them are in how they are carried out – how they are manifested in human actions. However, those actions do not define their nature – as their nature is intangible, abstract as the emotions that they produce and are produced by. So the nature of empathy, sympathy, and compassion is subject to the emotional context they are being viewed in, and thus leaves their “definition” open to much debate and inconsistency.

Perhaps then we shouldn’t try to define these concepts, but rather allow them to be innate, intangible qualities we recognize in ourselves and in others – not only through their actions, but through some immeasurable response in their person – a gut feeling, pulled heartstrings, etc.; all abstract rhetorical devices used to explain something that is not concrete, but that we know exists. So is the nature of empathy, sympathy, and compassion. Why then is Rick Deckard’s “gut feeling” not enough to distinguish humans from androids? They can’t project sympathy onto him, can’t empathize, are not drawn to compassion – they posses none of the human subtleties, none of the intangibles, that we sense in one another. So why is Deckard fooled by their ability to synthesize such reactions, through their words and actions?

Androids may seem to have human emotions,
but merely mimic them through their actions.

This question helps to elucidate the nature of how we classify actions as being empathetic, sympathetic, or compassionate. They are all a result of how we project our own feelings, and can only be comprehended within the frames of our individual selves. They can also only be fully realized, fully observed, as we see them inside ourselves – we cannot honestly make judgments on the motives of others – even the intangible feelings we get from them could be merely projections of our own feelings, our desire to fill the gap between individuals, to support the idea of our capacity for co-feeling. But this desire gets in the way when trying to determine, as Deckard must, who possesses these uniquely human emotions and who does not.

As I said earlier, empathy, sympathy, and compassion are emotions that cannot be quantified. However, in 2021, and admittedly in our own age, humans have found ways to do just that. What is empathy? A subtle spasm in the eye muscles at the mention of a mounted deer head. What is sympathy? Compassion? Neuroscientists would say they’re the result of a precise sequence of neural firings, a combination of chemical compounds, a reaction not to a person, but to an electric signal. None of the definitions in the anthology follow this line of thinking, this new capacity for quantifying emotions. So we must ask ourselves – will we ever be satisfied with a quantifiable definition of our emotions? Or is it that which we cannot define – the intangible, the abstract – which makes them meaningful, which makes them human?

The definitions and the analysis by Walter Jackson Bate on page 274O do not attempt to describe empathy, sympathy, and compassion as independent forces, but rather describe them in terms of their effects – on the subject and the object. Both rely heavily on general terms – citing things such as “feelings”, “projecting one’s personality”, and “the fundamental reality and inner working.”(Anthology, 274J-O) What does any of this signify? Only how little we are able to articulate about our specific emotions without referencing some equally-as-vague construct. As it seems in Bate’s analysis, the more we try to explain these intangibles, the more we contradict ourselves. I’d love to go into an analysis of these contradictions, but I feel I’ve gotten far enough away from the issue of Dick’s novel already, and so I’ll take this opportunity to leave you with my vague assertions and circle back around.

So, Deckard cannot rely on his emotional responses in dealing with androids, but must remain detached – observing in them only that which is quantifiable. The issue arises when he cannot help but to project his own emotions onto the androids – specifically female androids. He reflects on how “it was an odd sensation, knowing intellectually that they were machines, but emotionally reacting anyhow.”(Dick, 95) This just proves that we create emotion where it doesn’t exist – not unlike forced relationships, with false constructs of love left clinging to a semblance of human connectivity. This is the world of 2021, where emotions – empathy included – have become hard to come by in their honest forms. It is not only that Deckard must struggle to believe that androids don’t posses emotions, but that he struggles with the idea that humans are equally as devoid of emotion, and that theirs might be of the same construct as the androids’ – synthetic or imagined. He shows this when he thinks, “most androids I’ve known have more vitality and desire to live than my wife. She has nothing to give me.” And so the constructs of empathy, sympathy, and compassion are essentially the same, despite their differences in application – they come from a selfish desire, or perhaps even a need, to experience the emotions of others – to remind ourselves that we are among other living, feeling beings, that we are not alone in our suffering or our joy. Perhaps this is why androids are threatening – because they refute that belief. Androids show us that we cant really tell who is feeling and who isn’t, that our ideas of sympathy, empathy, and compassion could merely be constructs of our own desire for that reality – a co-feeling reality in which we are all connected and our emotions for each other are real – real beyond the concrete, real in the way that only an abstraction can be.
Is this shared emotion real? We like to think so.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Lewis Carroll uses many devices to comment on the human relationship with and treatment of animals in both Alice books. How do these devices, these characters, and these interactions reflect on the larger question of animal treatment, in the books and in our world today?


Before we can discuss how animals are treated in the books, we must first see how Carroll treats them as characters. Which traits does he develop in these animals and what do they signify? What point is Carroll trying to make about the distinction between humans and animals?

“Carroll wants his readers to notice that animals clearly have their own worth outside of the lives of humans.”
“Carroll also demonstrates an animal’s worth by showing the deer’s sense of identity.”

“By introducing us to characters like a weeping Mock Turtle, a Caterpillar with a Napoleon complex (kind of), a fearful mother Pigeon, and a greedy, conniving Walrus, the author forces us to see human qualities in wild animals and savagery in ourselves.”

“Our author brings into question an animal’s ability to communicate, feel, love, and reason. So, is there a distinction between the actions of humans amongst animals, versus animals amongst themselves?”
“The moral consequences of eating an egg become more apparent when its mother can argue and attack you.”
“…one can hardly distinguish the differences between human and animal in his imaginative world.”

“Humans and animals both have deep emotions? SAME PERSON.”

“I believe he emphasizes this by making these animals as human-like as possible – so we as readers could take out the descriptions of the animals, replace them with human descriptions, and read the book never knowing that Alice was kicking a talking lizard named Bill but rather kicking a talking person named Bill. Would Alice kick a man named Bill for no obvious reason? I doubt it. Carroll’s human/animal parallel is drawn effectively in this way.”

“Carroll’s personification of the animals in the Alice books further serves the purpose of equalizing man and animals.”


Having recognized the distinctions Carroll consciously makes between humans and animals, how does Alice struggle with this distinction, or lack thereof? How does this relationship affect Alice’s treatment of the animals in wonderland and looking-glass world?

“Lewis Carroll’s failure to differentiate between animals and humans in Alice and Wonderland poses the interesting question: Why do we treat animals as inferior to humans?”

“…we dehumanize animals just because they don't communicate and act the same way as us and therefore allow ourselves to treat them unethically, although lack of understanding for animals is not a “good and sufficient cause” (Anthology, 329) for this unethical treatment.”
“…the astounding difference in Alice's treatment of animals that arises when they DO communicate and act like humans. I think that animals possess a lot of the same traits as us, but we fail to recognize these similarities because we are blinded by what separates us, such as the ability to talk”

“Carroll uses the narrow-minded lens through which Alice views the animals around her to make obvious that treatment of animals as if they are worth less than we as humans, or as if their feelings are any less real or important as ours, is simply wrong”

“While Carroll writes about an animal’s individual worth, he also demonstrates how humans and animals may coexist.”


Although many animals in the books are characterized as humans, Carroll still emphasizes the difference in Alice’s treatment of animals she regards as pets. What does this connection to our pets say about our treatment of animals overall? What is hypocritical about our attitudes towards pets? How does Alice illustrate this hypocrisy in her dealings with non-domestic animals?

“Many people learn to accept animals as their best friends or members of their family, proving that they see animals “more and more the aspect of gentle friends” (Course Anthology 320).”

“Perhaps Carroll is suggesting that if we could see all animals as we see our pets, we might treat them all much better.”

“Especially, I think, is this true with pets, for we feed them, we keep their environment clean, we control much of their lifestyle. We are in a position of power over them to the point where it is difficult to put ourselves on their level and truly understand what is going on in their minds.”


How does Alice’s attitude towards animals change as the books progress, especially towards the end of Through the Looking Glass? What assertion might Carroll be making with this shift in behavior?

“… when Alice herself becomes a Queen, a transition Carroll uses to represent her coming of age, she seems to lose her initial patience and fascination with the creatures.”

“One major trend I’ve noticed is that children are usually more sympathetic to animals than adults are. Combined with a greater sense of imagination as well as a tendency to be naturally compassionate (due to their innocence I presume), children, no matter how they end up as they get older…are more likely to sympathize with animals.”


Carroll’s inclusion of animals in the books and his outrageous crafting of their individual and absurd characters makes it clear that they are meant to represent some larger truth about the human relationship with animals, and perhaps about the human condition in general. What truth is he trying to convey?

“Through her mistakes, Lewis Carroll warns us against indulging our carelessness and selfishness. Through her moments of kindness, Lewis Carroll inspires us to change. In the end, Lewis Carroll reminds us that all creatures of the world are just as worthy as we are to be treated fairly and compassionately, to live and exist harmoniously.”

“I think that was one of Carroll’s goal with his Alice books – to allow us to examine our own convictions and question our own ideals, especially with respect to animals”

“Only when we can really look pass the surface of differences and judge based on fundamental similarities can we view animals as equals to extend our compassion towards them.”

“Throughout Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Carroll again and again thoroughly unites man and nature. Kittens as the Red and White Queens, talking flowers, Cheshire Cat with clear and cool logic- countless points are made that we are all connected, we are all the same.”

Monday, October 19, 2009


Lewis Carroll makes many comments on the relativity of suffering between humans and animals in his criticisms of vivisection. Though buried in his functional analysis of the problems of the research method, these comments present an idea most directly addressed in the Alice books – what differentiates us from animals, and how does that justify our treatment of them? Carroll states clearly that “the prevention of suffering to a human being does not justify the infliction of a greater amount of suffering on an animal”(Anthology 329), and while he makes it a purpose to differentiate between inflicting pain on an animal and killing it (which “needs no justification”), in the Alice books, Alice is confronted, and most puzzled by, the moral implications of killing animals for food.

Where does our food come from? Animals, a fact
that Alice must face in Wonderland.

Though taken out of context, Carroll’s statement that “ while science arrogates to herself the right of torturing at her pleasure the whole sentient creation up to man himself, some inscrutable boundary-line is there drawn, over which she will never venture to pass,” (Anthology 329) brings up an important assertion that Carroll makes in this essay and in the Alice books – that animals are equally as sentient as humans, and therefore have the same capacity for experiencing pain. The problem arises for Alice when she is confronted by the abrasive sentience of the animals in wonderland – not only are they fully aware of themselves and their own suffering, but they are quick to judge and classify Alice, forcing her to admit to her selfish and sometimes hypocritical reasoning.

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice’s encounter with the pigeon marks the first time that she really starts to consider the implications of her animal-rich diet. When the pigeon assumes that Alice is “a kind of serpent” because she confesses to eating eggs, “this was such a new idea to Alice, that she was quite silent for a minute or two,”(Annotated Alice, 56). It is this silence which signifies Alice’s struggle to accept herself as being the equivalent of an animal – in her case a predatory one. The next lines support this as the pigeon asks, “What does it matter to me whether you’re a little girl or a serpent?” “It matters a good deal to me,” Alice replies, showing her disdain for the pigeon’s lack of distinction between the two (Annotated Alice, 56).

Alice being berated by the pigeon.

In Through the Looking Glass, Carroll makes an even more outrageous attempt at forcing the reader, and Alice, to accept the sentience of the animals we kill for food, and ultimately the sentience of the animals we inflict suffering upon. At her coronation feast, when introduced to the leg of mutton she was to slice, “Alice returned the bow, not knowing whether to be frightened or amused,”(Annotated Alice, 262). This exchange marks Alice’s continuing dilemma throughout the books- are these talking animals simply an amusing fantasy of wonderland? Or does their sentience reveal a truth that Alice has never considered, the truth of their feeling, their awareness of suffering? The question is answered partly by the queen’s response to Alice’s attempt to slice her new acquaintance - “it isn’t etiquette to cut anyone you’ve been introduced to,” (Annotated Alice, 263). Even in the looking glass world, where everything is opposite, one would not dream of eating a creature that is self-aware, feeling, and in this case, rather polite.

Alice's encounter with the mutton.

Although Alice must question, once again, the morality of eating animals, in this episode Carroll also suggests the futility of trying to prevent all suffering, and makes the same distinction between killing and hurting animals as he does in his essay on vivisection. After the fiasco with the mutton, Alice is quick to avoid the same interaction with the pudding, stating, “I wo’n’t be introduced to the pudding, please… or we shall get no dinner at all,”(Annotated Alice, 263). Though Alice has been forced to accept the moral fact of eating animals – that she is destroying once conscious beings – she makes the point that if we were to let that fact deter us completely, we would never eat. Alice introduces the concept of a necessary evil – one that Carroll also describes when he states “that man has an absolute right to inflict death on animals,”(Anthology, 324). In that vein, Alice takes the initiative to slice the pudding, despite having been properly introduced. She is once again affronted by an unexpected sentience. One could say that Carroll is almost mocking an extremist view – that we offend creation in every instance of killing another creature. The pudding’s ire at being consumed reflects Carroll’s opinion of the “reductio ad absurdum” proposition of trying to classify or justify the relative importance of creatures we kill for food. It is as ridiculous to feel guilt for eating an animal as it is to be scolded by the pudding at a banquet.

Though the points I have discussed here are only a fraction of Alice’s interactions with animals, I believe they have the most bearing on Carroll’s actual opinions on the treatment of animals, which, as evidenced by his essay, he cares about greatly. The Alice books serve to confront us with a reality we often ignore, or are indifferent to, that animals have the capacity to feel, and are as vulnerable to suffering, if not more so, as we are. Although Carroll seeks to reduce the suffering of animals, he is also aware of the absurdity of trying to prevent all suffering, and illustrates this in the ridiculous difficulty Alice has in her dealings with animals throughout the book. The challenges Alice faces in this regard can be characterized by an excerpt from Jude the Obscure, a story in which efforts made by the protagonist are equally as futile as Alice’s attempts to treat the creatures of wonderland fairly and with as much civility as she can manage – “It was impossible to advance in regular steps without crushing some of them at each tread,” (Anthology, 322). As Jude must “carefully [pick] his way on tiptoe among the earthworms,”(Anthology, 322) Alice must be constantly wary of what she says and does while in the company of these incredibly sensitive and easily offended animals. Though it would be easy to criticize Alice for her insensitive dealing with these animals, we must feel sympathy for her in that she is overwhelmed not only by the curious and often illogical demands of these creatures, but also by their blatant sentience, as we would be overwhelmed if we were expected to keep track of every animal we harm in passing – from the food we eat to the very steps we take.
Are we to avoid every earthworm?

Monday, October 12, 2009


I’ve had many fantasies of my future self. In almost every case I am some sort of charismatic leader - whether political, religious, or revolutionary, I am always at the forefront of new and controversial ideas, proudly proclaiming them to the masses, raising my fist on the podium, a master of extemporaneous speaking…

But that isn’t me. Yet.
I often fantasize about being a speaker
like Barack Obama(1), isn't he charismatic?

I’ve had many causes in these fantasies, environmentalism, socialism, science, art; they’re all interchangeable passions. So what is it that fuels this persistent dream? What passion makes me a leader, makes me the one with all the answers? I have to look at what all of these future selves have in common. Yes, of course in all of them I am the one on the podium, the one conducting the crowd, but this reflects more of my distorted ego than it does my guiding passion. But there is one other consistency. Regardless of the subject of my declarations, I am always exposing some new truth, enacting some new knowledge, and giving it to the world – I am educating.

A passion for education has been apparent throughout my entire life, first in fantasies and later in my actions. One of my fondest memories of the third grade is standing on the large log in the playground and giving my classmates a lecture on the topic “why nothing is something”. No one was listening. But I developed the ability, at a very young age, to be completely unfazed by a lack of attention. If I have something I really want to say, I will keep saying it no matter what. From that point on, lunchtime lectures were a common affair for me. I suppose my real goal was to have some sort of intellectual discussion with my peers, but seeing as they were all also in the third grade, it usually turned out rather one sided. This pattern continued throughout my life. My freshman year of high school brought me back to the lunchtime lecture, a sign that it was my standby method of socializing in uncomfortable situations. Passions make themselves most apparent as comfort zones – what do I do when I don’t know what to do in a situation? I start talking, discussing things I’ve recently learned, giving my opinions on the news, formulating philosophical ideologies, etc. I know that talking for the sake of talking isn’t what makes someone a teacher, and it isn’t the same as educating, but it is the passion that has led me on a path towards education, in many ways.

A precocious child(2), not unlike myself in the 3rd grade.

In my last few years of high school, I started talking less and doing more. Somehow my passion for sharing my ideas with large groups was able to overshadow my disdain for student organizations. I was never the type of person who liked to be involved. But I saw an opportunity to do the things I liked to do – organizing people and information, communicating new ideas in new ways – and I took it. This is the power of passion, it forces you to do things you otherwise would not, to pursue all opportunities to share that passion. I joined senior council, became president of National Art Honor Society, joined an advisory board for a nearby museum, and became active in organizing student exhibitions in the arts district. My family is still confused by my level of involvement - I’m the last of four children and the first to ever join any sort of organization, let alone be in charge of one. So how do these actions lend themselves to a passion for education? In all of my extracurricular activities, similar to my fantasies, I sought to bring something new to the table, either a new idea for an event or a publication or an exhibit. All of the things I helped organize served some sort of educational purpose. One of the projects I am most proud of is the zine I created with the NAHS. Not only did I want to give the visual arts cluster something to present to the public, beyond our gallery exhibits, I wanted to give them experience in a field that our curriculum touched little upon, but that many students end up going into – publication design. In order to produce the zine as a collective, everyone had to learn about using layouts, creating printing forms, book making, copy editing – everything involved in making one little book. Because this was my project, I was in charge of getting people involved and making sure they knew what they were doing. Though the final product could’ve come out cleaner and earlier (December vs. May),
the experience was one of the highlights of my time at the Arts Magnet, and really helped to define my passion for education and information dispersal.

The cover of our first zine, lovingly hand-printed
photo credit to author

I also had the opportunity to bring my “lectures” to a wider and more attentive audience through my involvement in the visual arts cluster. I helped organize student exhibitions for the printmaking department, at the Crow Collection of Asian Art and the Dallas Museum of Art. My main contribution to these shows was solidifying the theme and purpose of each exhibition and communicating that idea to the artists involved, and, eventually, to the viewers of the exhibit in the form of the wall text displayed at each show. So not only did I get to help determine the general direction the show would go in, what statement the art would make when put together, I got to make the final statement, the paragraphs that explained to strangers what we were doing and why we were doing it. I also spoke at the openings of each exhibit, and getting to share my ideas in front of a receptive audience was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. My passion for education becomes very apparent in the projects I choose to take on and how I interpret those projects. It would be easy for me, as an artist, to simplify the exhibitions we planned and focus solely on the visual nature of the artwork. But because of my passion, in every case I made it about the meaning, about the statement, and about the context of each piece within the larger group. And that should be the goal of every educator, to show people what’s beyond the obvious.

Presenting the wall text I wrote
for the Crow.
photo credit to author

Not only has my passion manifested itself in my actions, but it is also very apparent in the actions of those I consider to be my role models. I am very quick to respect good teachers, and equally as quick to write off bad ones. As someone with a passion for education, I expect to see the same passion in those who have chosen to pursue it as a career. I have had the privilege of working with some amazing teachers throughout my life, and these people are my role models. No doctors, no lawyers, no artists or scientists – my role models have all been teachers, even my mother, who has taught art to children for as long as I’ve known her. It’s teachers that have shown me the most about myself – how I learn, the type of work I like to do, what I’m capable of. It’s teachers that inspire the best in people, and it’s the best in people that inspires me.

Me with Charlotte Chambliss, a
teacher and a huge influence on me.
photo credit to author

Though seeing people reach their potential does bring me joy, it is just a convenient product of my passion for educating. Education has its roots in compassion, in selflessness, but I cannot say that this compassion is what drives me. I am driven by something different, less humanitarian. Passions are solely internal forces, and it is an internal force that leaves me desperate for an outlet for my thoughts, for a venue in which to organize all the information floating around in my head, and for a way to make this knowledge useful to others. I can’t say that I want to change the lives of teenagers or bring enlightenment in the form of heightened literacy – I just want to talk, and be listened to. So the passion that drives this compassionate endeavor – to teach and to give knowledge – is a completely selfish one – a passion for talking, a passion for knowing, a passion for giving my opinion even when it isn’t asked for. But I think this is what makes my passion for education more versatile. I’m not passionate about any specific type of education; I see no difference in the relative importance of school and television, literature and magazines. Every source of information seeks to educate in some way, and all sources can be improved upon. It is really this improvement that I seek, not just in what is being taught, but in how it is being taught, and in what format. This is why I am so drawn to publications and graphic design as sources of education. Once people complete their mandatory twelve years, what incentive do they have to continue learning, aside from obvious professional reasons? My passion for education goes beyond what I can accomplish in the classroom. My fantasies of a future self may not be so far off. Though I may not end up on the podium, I want to educate on a massive scale – reaching out through publication design and my ability to organize information in unique and appealing ways. I may not have the courage or interpersonal skills needed for direct education, but my passion will not be quelled, and I will always seek new and exciting ways to get my message across.
Cover of Seed Magazine(3), a great
example of an educational publication.

Although my passion for education may be internal, its application is sure to have positive external consequences. It’s already reared its head in how I’ve approached school, how I’ve learned to work with others, and how I choose to communicate in general. Despite my “selfish” motivations for wanting to educate, it is, nonetheless, a deed whose benefit to society is obvious. Not only do we need more educated citizens, we need them to be educated correctly. For this end, we need more great teachers, teachers with not only a passion for knowledge, but a passion for packaging that knowledge in its most accessible and usable form. Educating will always be much more than a source of income for me because I am truly passionate about the dispersal of information. It is that level of personal investment that makes great teachers across all fields. When teachers are passionate about what they teach, their students can become passionate about learning it, and the lust for knowledge can become contagious.



1. Zimbio, "Obama Gives Fathers Day Speech At Sunday Church Service,"

2. News @, "Precocious: Precocious Definition,"

3. Seed Magazine, "Issue Number 22: The Last Experiment,"

Monday, September 28, 2009


I was never incredibly enthusiastic about the prospect of going to college. I knew I would have to, eventually, but I always had my sights set on doing something far more outrageous. My life plan in my freshman year of high school consisted of a series of renegade political maneuvers that would allow me to control a small, Latin-American country (Guatemala seemed most promising) and establishing there an experimental Utopian society and a genetics research lab. There would also be greenhouses involved. Possibly a bio-dome. By sophomore year, I'd decided I would be attending the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where I would study neuroscience and Mayan culture simultaneously. This was also my third year studying French. Sometimes I miss my old idealism. Though to be honest, I haven't come much closer to the surface of the earth since then, and I don't especially want to.

the strategic location of my future empire

So here I am, falling back on Plan II, pun intended. Though I've put my dictatorial ambitions aside, temporarily, I feel like I am on the right track. Because what do we do when we don't have the money, the knowledge, or the language skills to accomplish our dreams? We go to college!

In reality, I came to the realization last year that I would go to college, a normal college, and get whatever I could out of it. This wasn’t a submission to the norms of society, or the pressures of my parents, or the fear of actually entering the “real world”. I realized that learning was what I loved to do, and what I was good at. I fully appreciate the statement “[college] is the last time in your life you will be given the chance to simply learn things with few other responsibilities”(Course Anthology, 110). That is the kind of chance I have always wanted, the freedom to simply pursue knowledge, without having to apply it to some end result or major life decision. I have always wanted knowledge to be “an inward endowment”(167), not just something that would help me get into college, or get a job, or sound interesting. This is why I’m so happy to have found Plan II, and the University of Texas.

The Plan II emblem reflects the duality that I seek.

Plan II is a perfect fit for me, as it allows me to major in something while not really having to pick a major. While I probably will narrow my focus somewhat, its comforting to know that I can pursue knowledge freely, without having to worry much about getting my required hours and coursework etc. Plan II provides the breadth of study and the unity of knowledge that I crave. The classes I’m required to take may not pertain to subjects I’m interested in, but they all have a common goal – to help me understand the best way to learn, to adapt, and to think ahead of the curve. This way I’ll be able to take all of my interests, all of my goals, all of my thoughts, and “hammer them into unity”. I am touched by the statement “all branches of knowledge are connected together, because the subject-matter of knowledge is intimately united in itself”(165). This is a concept I’ve tried to explain to my parents, my teachers, my friends, who cannot grasp my seemingly pointless pursuit of fields that have nothing to do with another. But Plan II gets it, and that’s why I’m here.

I’m already excited by the types of learning I’ve engaged in so far. I expected college to be solid lecture, with little interaction and few ways to make myself known to the professor. While I do enjoy a dry lecture, the same way I enjoy driving long distances and manual labor (this is not sarcasm), the direct exchange of knowledge from professor to student does leave something to be desired, or rather, something to be learned. I'm glad my classes aren't like this one!

That’s what this class, heavy in experiential learning, has begun to teach me. It is essential to have something that “force[s] you to confront your current ideas about the subject… and reconcile them with what you now observe to be the case”(184). It’s easy in a lecture class to hear what a professor has to say, repeat it back on an exam, but never really believe or understand it. There needs to be a conflict, a challenge, that forces me to either find ways to make my ideas undeniably true or concede to other viewpoints. Basically, I’m glad to be in an environment where bullshit will not be tolerated, because it’s incredibly easy to revert back to that tendency, so well manicured in high school. I feel like Plan II, coupled with UT as a whole, gives me free reign to explore all the possibilities of academia, while still keeping me in check, making sure that my efforts lead to something, if not something as solid as a career or grad school, at least to a unity of thought, a focus in my pursuit of limitless knowledge.

I still have ridiculous ambitions. I still want to major in Mayan culture and neuroscience, plus maybe physics and linguistics and studio art. But I realize that there must be a structure to my education, and that’s what college gives me, along with a piece of paper that will help me access the knowledge I may be unable to acquire here. I can only hope that my mind will reach the state of “the intellect… which knows, and thinks while it knows… which… cannot be but patient, collected, and majestically calm, because it discerns the end in every beginning… because it ever knows where it stands, and how its path lies from one point to another”(168). To me, this is internal bliss, something I will work towards the rest of my life, far beyond where I get in college.

My inevitable academic future?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


"I ask you:
What is your substance?
And from where do you originate?"

- Pablo Neruda, Ode to the Hummingbird (1)

From where does my totem animal, the hummingbird, originate? Hummingbirds are uniquely American, they only live in the Western Hemisphere, so it follows that they are common in Native American folklore and spirituality. But hummingbirds are not such common animals, and have not appeared to me so often. So from where do they originate as my totem? The hummingbird is inside of me, the strongest animal impulse I contain. The hum of its flight is manifest in the hum of my busy thoughts, the rigor of its heartbeat appears in the rigor of my passions. It is not only my spirit guide, but rather my spirit, that the hummingbird embodies. So how did I come to relate so strongly to this animal, to recognize it inside of me?

There was a jolt of something - electricity perhaps - at the tip of my finger, and I flipped the card. On it perched a little jewel of a creature. Cliche, I thought. Tiny, feminine, flippant. I ought to be something regal, stoic, large... a hawk - hawks had appeared to me many times. But I hadn't drawn a hawk, I had drawn a hummingbird. So I didn't put much store in the Medicine Cards (3). I forgot about them.


Until recently. I was doing imagery research for a tattoo, and the small, delicate creature seemed suitable for a thigh. As research generally does, it took off on a tangent. I remembered the Medicine Cards. I remembered the essay I needed to write about a totem animal. I was inspired by the different mythos containing hummingbirds, and decided to give them a second chance. Their message resonated more fully this time. My interest was piqued initially by the significance of hummingbirds in Mayan and Aztec mythology, two subjects that I am very passionate about. To the Maya, the hummingbird represented the coming of the 5th sun, or the current stage of humanity (5). It was the messenger that traveled between worlds, as it had the ability to fly in any direction, and was therefore the first herald of the new age. In both cultures the hummingbird was seen as a purveyor of love and beauty, depicted often as a bride or groom, or as a symbol of fertility. This characterization is the basis of the hummingbird’s role as totem animal as described in Native American folklore. The hummingbird, as a guide, is meant to “open the heart to love” (6). This is the message I was unable, or unwilling, to attune to on my first encounter with the hummingbird.

My perspective on love, and on joy, was very different then than it is now. At that time I was still reeling from the end of a long and somewhat debilitating relationship. I was definitely not open to love, and would not be for quite some time. The hummingbird I drew was a message, to warn me against closing myself, encourage me to keep moving, and to once again find joy in the world outside of myself and outside of my relationships. I was too stubborn to accept this message, and so finding my connection to my totem animal, and ultimately to myself, took a longer route.

Perhaps the hummingbird has come to me now as a sign that I’ve followed its path, I have embraced everything that it stands for. It’s been over a year since the end of my last serious relationship, and I’m finally at the point where the idea of love – romantic, passionate, joyful love – is no longer terrifying, it's not even scary. I make a point of loving everyone for who they are, rather than judging them and criticizing them as I used to. With this sense of love, and the necessity of it, it is much easier for me to find joy in life. And that is really what the hummingbird has given me. According to the Medicine Cards, hummingbird’s principle characteristic is joy(7). You can see it in the animals themselves – flitting through the flowers, energetically and enthusiastically, delighting in sweetness all around them. If we could all see the world as the hummingbird does, we would see nothing but beauty, life, and joy. That’s why the hummingbird also represents aesthetic values – "know[ing] instinctively where beauty abides and, near or far... journey[ing] to that place"(8).

This ability is another strong bond I have with the hummingbird. One of my main goals in life is to surround myself with beautiful things – found objects, plants, artwork, colors. I also wish to contribute something beautiful to the world, and from that comes my passion for creating art. My aesthetic is apparent in everything I do. My room décor matches my wardrobe matches my blog matches my website matches my school supplies… everything I keep around me subscribes to a standard of beauty that I’ve created. In many cases this has happened organically – or at least subconsciously. It's also not surprising that my palette – of colors and of images – is largely inspired by nature and especially by spring, the hummingbird’s key season. Recently I have even started to draw hummingbirds – on the edges of notes, in sketches, and in my continuous drawings. I started to do this without realizing its significance as a way of “honoring my totem” and therefore awakening to it, allowing for “its medicine to be effective in [my] life” (9). Drawing animals does force you to connect with them, to take on aspects of their form and movement and truly relate to it, a practice we have mentioned in class. To draw the hummingbird, I have to imagine its flight, its movement, and its purpose in that movement, to be able to capture it accurately.

So is my recent fascination with the hummingbird enough to make it my totem animal? The hummingbird is definitely the key anima of my identity now, but how do I know if it will remain as my totem? I don’t. There are other animals I closely associate with, even others that I drew from the same medicine cards. For instance, the mouse is one of my totems, representing scrutiny, which is a large part of who I am and how I perceive the world. I am also connected to the otter, my feminine and maternal instincts. And there is the hawk, an animal I admire greatly, that symbolizes the messenger and the strength of intuition. I have seen all of these animals within myself at different times. I can relate to the shamanic belief that “every species and every aspect of its environment had the power to remind them of what they could manifest within their own life" (10). I have always been in awe of animals and the way they seem to function so effortlessly within their environments. Because I am a human, and have no specific environment (11), being able to look towards these animals as inspiration to adapt to the ever-changing human world is truly an asset.

Although I draw inspiration from many animals, I feel like the hummingbird will continue to manifest itself most strongly in my personality, my identity. There are simply too many similarities to ignore. Our shared tininess, for example, is an obvious connection. Though the hummingbird is small, it defends its territory and its young fiercely, often scaring off much larger animals. Being short has never been an issue for me, and though I may be meek physically, I can make very strong statements if need be. The hummingbird also has an important mutualistic relationship with nature. It is adapted perfectly to obtain nectar from and pollinate flowers. Though I’m not necessarily adapted to taking care of plants, it is something I find joy in. I can spend hours outside, basking in the beauty of nature and just feeling its energy. The subtle relationships between plants – ecologically and aesthetically – bring me an immense amount of joy. The hummingbird’s general demeanor also mimics my own. It's speed and agility rest on the brink of frenzy, it seems close to exploding with internal energy. Though I may seem calm much of the time, inside my mind is teeming with thoughts, jumping from one to the next, reaching towards the tipping point. As with the hummingbird, it takes the most energy to stand still - to hover in space, a quivering mass of potential energy.

The more aware of the hummingbird I become, the more obvious it is that is has been within me this whole time. It is hard now for me to separate from it. When I listened to the obligatory totem animal vision quest, the hummingbird was with me the whole time, before I even entered the tunnel. I was comforted by the fact that not only did the hummingbird maintain its presence during the "quest", but that it led me to a place I knew, the jungle. The hummingbird thrives in the jungles of Central America, the same jungle that I thrive in. My sense of empowerment, of identity, unity, and happiness, originated from the same place - the same geographic location - as my totem animal. And so we are, yet again, even more connected than I ever knew.

The "time when humanity recognized itself as part of nature, and nature as part of itself", when "Dreaming and waking were insperarable realities; the natural and the supernatural merged and blended"(12) does not seem so foreign to me, in fact it is quite a familiar condition. I have always been drawn to nature, always found my true peace of mind when immersed deeply into the natural world. So I don't take my connection with my totem for granted. I will always keep the hummingbird's message of love, joy, and beauty in mind, as they have become essential parts of my identity.
The hummingbird is now of the same substance as myself. It originates from within. And it hums throughout.



1. Pablo Neruda, Ode to the Hummingbird

The hummingbird
in flight
is a water-spark,
an incandescent drop
of American
the jungle's
flaming résumé,
a heavenly,
the hummingbird is
an arc,
a golden
a green

you hover
in the air,
you are
a body of pollen,
a feather
or hot coal,
I ask you:
What is your substance?
And from where do you originate?
Perhaps during the blind age
of the Deluge,
within fertility's
when the rose
in an anthracite fist,
and metals matriculated,
each one in
a secret gallery
perhaps then
from a wounded reptile
some fragment rolled,
a golden atom,
the last cosmic scale,
a drop of terrestrial fire
took flight,
suspending your splendor,
your iridescent,
swift sapphire.

You doze
on a nut,
fit into a diminutive blossom;
you are an arrow,
a pattern,
a coat-of-arms,
honey's vibrato, pollen's ray;
you are so stouthearted —
the falcon
with his black plumage
does not daunt you:
you pirouette,
a light within the light,
air within the air.
Wrapped in your wings,
you penetrate the sheath
of a quivering flower,
not fearing
that her nuptial honey
may take off your head!

From scarlet to dusty gold,
to yellow flames,
to the rare
ashen emerald,
to the orange and black velvet
of your girdle gilded by sunflowers,
to the sketch
amber thorns,
your Epiphany,
little supreme being,
you are a miracle,
from torrid California
to Patagonia's whistling,
bitter wind.
You are a sun-seed,
a miniature
in flight,
a petal of
silenced nations,
a syllable
of buried blood,
a feather
of an ancient heart,

2. Hummingbird Lithographs by John Gould
Source: Bibliodyssey.

3. Medicine Cards consist of a deck of numbered totem animal cards that correspond to a book containing descriptions of each animal as a totem. To draw the cards, you lay them all face down in a semi circle around you, trace over them with your right hand, and wait until you feel a jolt or twitch in your fingers over a particular card. You can do this until you draw six cards, or just the one. The order in which you draw the cards determines the way in which the animals affect you.

4. Hummingbird Medicine Card
Source: Peaceful Rivers

5. The other "suns" consisted of civilizations or beings that did not suit the gods, and thus were destroyed. The 5th sun is our current civilization, or era, that will end on December 21, 2012, according to Mayan calendrical cycles. Thus the hummingbird is significant for all of us, as it is the messenger that brings about the beginning and end of the current Mayan era.

6. Medicine Cards - The Healing Power of Animals, Animal Card 44 - Hummingbird

Medicine Cards - The Healing Power of Animals, Animal Card 44 - Hummingbird

8. Spirit of Red Arrow, Hummingbird Medicine

Course Anthology, p. 418

10. Course Anthology, p. 415

11. Though I do favor certain environments over others - another connection and clue to my animal totems. I love the jungle, where hummingbirds originate. I also love small places, and have a tendency to nest, not unlike my totem.

12. Course Anthology, p. 415

13. Aztec Hummingbird God
Pacific Lutheran University, The Aztec Empire

Monday, September 7, 2009


An Experiment with the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test

I know what type of person I am. Or rather, I know what types of person I am. I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing where I fit, what my function is, how I operate in society. My deductions on the subject have come mainly from observing how I interact with others, how I complete tasks, and how I deal with my flaws. I’m confident in saying that I know myself, not necessarily in the sense of who I am (because that requires a much more context-based analysis), but definitely in the question of how I am, a general definition of myself that applies in any situation. So I had a good idea of what my results were going to be when I sat down to take this personality test. And they pretty much lived up to my expectations. What was interesting, however, was that when I took the test a second time, a week or so later, my results changed.

This inconsistency didn’t surprise me; in fact I was impressed that there was only a one-letter discrepancy between the two, as I’ve often suspected to have a few extra personalities loitering around my subconscious. So I’ll start with what’s certain- ENF, extroverted, intuitive, feeling. According to Keirsey, this makes me an “idealist”, which is an incredibly fitting title. I quickly identified with Keirsey’s description: “The real, practical world is only a starting place for Idealists; they believe that life is filled with possibilities waiting to be realized, rich with meanings calling out to be understood”.

me pondering the nature of the universe,
a typical idealist activity

My idealist tendencies are very apparent in my learning and writing styles, as I often seek to grasp or invent broad, theoretical concepts that help to unify the information at hand. I’m also aware of the flaws that come along with this personality type, such as the inability to follow through and a habit of switching ideas, projects, and attention mid-stream, as my inspiration fades in and out (Anthology p. 138, 140). Despite these flaws, I think my idealist nature will be an asset in this class, where projects are open for interpretation and the subject matter subscribes to unifying and over-arching themes. I might struggle with some of the writing assignments, as I am very prone to writers block. The two areas of my type that give me the most trouble with this are intuition and feeling. Writing Process Inventory describes my problems with writing exactly, such as my tendency “to forget to include concrete examples and… not provide the reader with background information”(Anthology p. 151). I apologize for this in advance, but I’m always more concerned with making a point rather than proving it with concrete evidence (though I think my writing is evidence enough to support this assertion). I think that because of my idealism I pay more attention to making an elegant statement or theory rather than making sure it’s sound.

It seems like the main function of this test, or at least in my results, is to define the different ways in which people perceive the world, how they synthesize all the information that makes up their individual realities. That’s why my two results are very intriguing, although not surprising. The difference lies in the last letter. My first result came up as ENFP, my second ENFJ. So I’m stuck with a contrast, perceiving versus judging, the Champion versus the Teacher. I’m content as both, and I know that both apply. In fact, I find myself switching between the two very


The main difference between them seems to be in terms of organization- the perceptive side is more cluttered, at least mentally, and has a shorter attention span, whereas the judging side can synthesize information quickly and come up with solid conclusions and decisions. I guess that these two different sides of me come out depending on the task at hand. According to Saumya’s Typology Assessment, my ENFJ side might be better suited for this class, and probably most classes for that matter. In retrospect, I can track the shifting of my personality type, from when I’m in class to when I’m out and about. I’m definitely an ENFJ in class, quick to judge, quick to decide, and quick to instruct. I’m guessing this is why people I have class with always seem to have a different idea of my personality than the people I’m with outside of school. I think it’s obvious when my ENFP side starts showing, usually when I’m in a more comfortable social situation. I get very excited about ideas or projects that pop into my head and start speaking more quickly than usual and have dramatic hand gestures and use an inordinate number of conjunctions. I can definitely relate to what Joe Butt calls “the silly-switch”.

I’m pleased with the results of this test, though they do nothing to help me decide between career paths, as my two types are suited for different callings. But if anything, at least now you guys will know that when I have outbursts its not because I’m insane, I just have two personality types. Which does sound kind of insane. But you can’t argue with Internet tests.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


a hybrid vegetable
that rattles
texture joy
glazed terracotta

cuddle guts

soft and squishy organs
crocheted with love
soon to be mass produced for profit